University of Michigan
Spring Commencement 2021
Hail! To the Graduates
Spring Commencement is an extremely important event for all of our graduates and their families. We could not let this special day go by without recognizing the many achievements of our newest Wolverine alumni. Please join us in safely celebrating the Class of 2021 through a virtual ceremony on Saturday, May 1 at noon EST.
Pop-Up Rapid COVID-19 Testing
Celebrate graduation safely this weekend. Get tested before you gather.
See the Campus Blueprint Community page for location and hours.
Spring Commencement Speaker
Bryan Stevenson is a human rights leader, best-selling author and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). His memoir, "Just Mercy," was adapted into a 2019 major motion picture. EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults.
Rackham Graduate Exercises Speaker
Twyla Tharp is a World-renowned choreographer and dancer. She is a Tony- and Emmy Award-winning artist who received the 2004 National Medal of the Arts. In addition to choreographing for her own company, Twyla Tharp Dance, she has created dances for the Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, the Paris Opera Ballet, the Royal Ballet, and the New York City Ballet.
A Graduation to Remember
Explore the many different ways you can celebrate commencement and the Class of 2021 this year:
Commencement Street Mural
Yen Azzaro and Liz Guilmet, along with students from the Stamps School of Art & Design, will paint a commencement mural on E. Washington Street beginning April 25.Learn more about the mural
Join in celebrating the class of 2021 with Christine El-Hage, Zoe Lei, and HyoJin Jenna Moon on Tuesday, April 27th at 7:00 p.m. as they perform "The Victors" and "The Yellow and the Blue" at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Carillon, the Burton Memorial Tower, and the Kerrytown Chimes.
Share a photo on social media of you in your best Maize and Blue congratulating our graduates using #MGoGrad.Make May 1 a Maize Out
Celebrate on Social
Add a celebratory frame to your Facebook profile, send a Snap with our graduation filters or join your next Zoom call from the commencement stage.Celebrate on Social
Angell Hall Lighting
Angell Hall will be decked out with special celebratory lighting on April 30 and May 1.
Burton Tower Lighting
Burton Tower will be lit up every night in maize and blue for the month of April and the first weekend in May to salute our 2021 grads.
Campus Bucket List
View the bucket list of must-see campus sites to take in before graduating. Have you done them all already?Learn more about the campus bucket list
Rackham Graduate Exercises
Please join us in safely celebrating our graduate degree candidates through a virtual ceremony on Friday, April 30 at 7:00 p.m. EDT.Learn more about the virtual event
Learn more about the individuals receiving honorary degrees as part of the 2021 Virtual Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 1.Learn more about the recipients
The World Goes Blue!
Locations around the country will change their marquees and billboards to wish the class of 2021 well.
Home of the New England Patriots
Hudson Yards, New York City
The Shops at Columbus Circle, New York City
Home of the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins
Home of the Boston Red Sox
Raymond James Stadium
Home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
AT&T Business, Dallas, TX
Will the Spring 2021 Commencement include any in-person experiences?
Due to the ongoing public health challenges of the pandemic, the Spring 2021 Commencement exercises will be conducted in a virtual format. The university will host an opt-in event at Michigan Stadium for graduates who want to experience the virtual commencement together with their classmates. Unfortunately, no guests will be permitted to attend. Graduates are also invited to participate in an in-person photo opportunity in Michigan Stadium. Additional celebratory student experiences will be announced in the coming weeks.
Who will deliver the Spring Commencement address to students?
The Spring Commencement address to students will be delivered by Bryan Stevenson, human rights leader, best-selling author, and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and the Rackham Graduate Exercises address will be delivered by Twyla Tharp, world-renowned choreographer and dancer.
Will there be student speakers?
Yes! Multiple student speakers will be selected to share their fondest Michigan memories with fellow graduates as part of the virtual spring commencement ceremony.
Why couldn't there be an in-person ceremony?
The decision to host a virtual ceremony came after conversations with graduating students, a survey of our May graduates, and much discussion with university leaders and consultation with public health officials. We do not know what public health measures will need to be in place in May. It's also impossible now to predict factors such as infection and vaccination rates, travel guidelines and when state and local limits on gatherings may change. We know that some students remained at their permanent residence for the winter semester, and asking them to travel to campus would not be appropriate.
Although the ceremony will be conducted in a virtual format, the university is offering an opt-in event at Michigan Stadium for graduates who want to experience the virtual commencement together with their classmates. Unfortunately, no guests will be permitted to attend.
How did the university incorporate student perspectives when making this decision?
A survey was sent to students who will graduate in May and who graduated in December. More than 4,600 recipients completed the survey and their responses helped to guide Univeristy planning. For example, when asked if they would be interested in participating in a virtual ceremony if the university was 'unable to host an in-person ceremony due to health and safety concerns,' more than 61 percent answered at least 'moderately interested.' About one third or respondents answered 'very interested' or 'extremely interested.'
Survey respondents also expressed strong interest in having the opportunity to come back to U-M to take part in a future in-person graduation ceremony. More than 70 percent of the respondents answered at least 'moderately interested' in returning, with about a third answering 'extremely interested.' Download the survey results (PDF).
In additional discussions with student leaders from the class of 2021, the students expressed a strong desire to have a moment to come together in celebration as a group. They also asked for information about the university's planning and timelines to be shared as soon as possible.
Will my degree be conferred during this ceremony?
Degrees will be ceremonially conferred during the commencement exercises, however, the formal awarding of degrees will not happen until an audit is completed by your school or college. This can take up to six to eight weeks following the commencement date.
Are family and friends able to watch the ceremony?
We encourage friends and family to watch the ceremony live stream beginning at 11:45 a.m. EDT at https://springcommencement.umich.edu/
If I can't participate in the ceremony at 12 p.m. EDT, will I be able to watch at another time?
Yes. After the ceremony has concluded, it will remain available for viewing at commencement.umich.edu.
Will graduates' names be read during the university-wide ceremony?
No. As during traditional in-person U-M Spring Commencements, the graduates of each school and college will be recognized as a group by their particular dean.
Will my School or College be hosting a ceremony?
Many of the schools, colleges, and non-degree granting units will be hosting virtual celebrations. Please check back here for more information when it is available.
Will the university host additional opportunities to celebrate the classes of 2020 and 2021 in the future?
Yes. The university is continuing to consider options for inviting graduates from this year's class and the class of 2020 back to campus for special future in-person events.The university is also inviting all graduates who missed out on an in-person ceremony due to COVID-19 to attend and participate in any future Commencement of their choosing. They and their families will be our honored guests at these future ceremonies and the graduates will be recognized not just for the completion of their degrees but also for their resilience and fortitude in persevering during these challenging times.
How will I receive my diploma?
Diplomas will be mailed to the graduate's permanent address or to the Diploma Address if one has been created by the student in Wolverine Access. Diplomas are mailed approximately 6-8 weeks after the ceremony. eDiplomas will also be provided.
Graduating students must apply to receive a diploma. Students should check with their school or college of enrollment for deadlines.
Will there be a physical program that includes a list of graduates?
Yes. All students who are eligible to graduate this semester and apply for graduation through Wolverine Access by their school or college's deadline will be included in the Spring 2021 Graduate Name Book. A printed copy of the book will be mailed to those graduates whose degrees are conferred in early June. The digital copy of the name book will be available for download on the commencement website.
How may I request additional copies of the program book?
If you would like additional copies of the program, please fill out this form. Shipping will begin 6-8 weeks following the ceremony.
How do I purchase or rent academic attire?
The Michiganensian, Barnes & Noble, Ulrich's, and the M Den each offer attire for purchase. If PhD candidates would like to order custom attire, visit umich.shopoakhalli.com.
How do I find updates and information about Commencement?
Visit commencement.umich.edu for updates or email firstname.lastname@example.org with additional questions.